त्रिपुण्ड्र, tripuṇḍra or त्रिपुण्ड्रक, tripuṇḍraka

"three lines", "three strips"

Shivaite Tilaka

A sacred sign applied to the forehead by a yogi. It consists of three horizontal lines or wide bands made by hand with the help of the ashes of vibhuti, clay or sandalwood paste. Similar lines are applied to other parts of the body, such as arms and chest.

There are several descriptions of the symbols of the tripundra:

  1. Each of the lines of the tripundra symbolizes one of the three kinds of bonds (malas) for the human soul: anava-mala, karma-mala and maya-mala.
  2. They represent the three gunas that underlie the manifested World.
  3. Symbolize Creation, Preservation and Destruction – the three forms of Shiva.